Can you outline for me the goals a clinician might have when conducting clinical interviews with a child and his or her parents?
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One goal in such a clinical situation is for the clinician to strengthen the bond between the parent child to facilitate the parents' efforts toward the child's mental health. Another goal is to minimize the level of intrusion into normal life the child experiences during certain kinds of family events, like deaths or divorce.
As a parent who has been through this process, the clinician needs to have clear goals which need to be accomplished through interviews with the child and the parent(s). For me as goal one, the clinician needs to know exactly what the parents see as difficulties with examples to describe the behavior or thinking. The second goal to me would be to observe the behavior of the child with the parent or between parents to see if there is a significant disparity in how the parents see the child, each other, and the problem behavior. The third goal to me would be to ascertain the truth of the situation or whether the truth has been shaded for some reason. The fourth goal would be to find out if someone not in the interview has had a profound effect on the child in particular or on the parents. Clear notes and clear descriptions are critical, so the clinician needs to be prepared ahead of time with questions designed to draw out the information needed.
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